Self Care & Guilt

Right now, I just feel scared. Tense. Like someone is going to yell at me. I did so many things right today.

  1. I woke up on time to get my husband to work and keep the car.
  2. I got the car to the repair shop early and managed Dora in the crowded lobby.
  3. I went to the car rental place, answered the questions I could, completed the process, and brought the car home.
  4. I bought the yarn I’ve been meaning to get so that I can make a gift for a friend.
  5. I went to the post office at my husband’s request to pick up a package; it wasn’t there.
  6. I exercised for 40 minutes today, when I really haven’t put forth any effort since the winter started. (For me, <20 degrees Fahrenheit is too intense. I don’t have winter gear that’s actually good at preventing frostbite, and I have bad circulation all year round, so winters are tough enough without feeling my skin change texture after 5 minutes.)
  7. I went to the post office again, waited in line, showed them the tracking number, and asked them to check on it for me.  (They found it!)
  8. I picked up my husband on time and we made it home safely.

That was all good. All of it. Moreover, Dora was in public, on duty, five different times today. That’s five places where strangers can:

  • Talk to her instead of me while she’s supposed to be focusing
  • Try to pet her
  • Tell me that “it’s fine” when I ask them not to pet her
  • Look at me strangely when I body block them and move her behind me so they can’t pet her when they try again after I’ve already told them no
  • Ask me who I’m training her for
  • Ask me if I know when I have to give her to the disabled person
  • Ask me if she’s a therapy dog when her vest says “service dog” and we are in a place where therapy dogs don’t work (restaurants, repair shops, gas stations, banks, etc.)
  • Ask me what she’s trained to do (which is simultaneously asking me to explain my disability to them despite us never having met before)
  • Try to talk to me while I’m clearly talking to someone else, like the cashier or the government employee
  • Continue trying to talk to me after I ignore their first comment (because I’m just trying to move things along for me, the paid employee in front of me, and everyone in line behind me)
  • Tell me that I’m going to rip her throat open with her collar if I’m not careful (yeah, that was a fun day)
  • Ask me if she’s necessary for a medical purpose and then keep hounding me when I say “yes” because they totally think I’m lying
  • Make an offhanded remark about how ‘they should have put up a sign’ (which will presumably say “No service animals allowed here. Go ahead and sue us. We dare you.”)
  • Backtrack when they finally understand that she’s a service dog and that’s what I meant when I said that I need her for a medical reason

… I’m sure there’s more, but honestly, I’m tired of thinking up things that have happened to me in the last calendar year. For someone who already had social anxiety, believed she was a toxin that drained life from those around her, believed she was invisible, etc., it’s really been overwhelming.

So… what do I feel guilty about?

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Staying home tonight, taking a bubble bath, and trying to relax. I chose to do that because I realized that I was staring blankly into space and once my eyes stop focusing, things only go downhill. Going out in public (again) may have pushed me into a meltdown. Better to take care of myself, right?

So why do I feel so guilty for NOT GOING? No one is blaming me! Why won’t my muscles release? Why can’t I breathe normally or just believe that I’m done for the day? I’m so tired. 

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Big improvements

I’ve been in a bad state since this morning- about 8 consecutive hours. I had to buy lunch to be sure I would eat.

I used the energy I had recovered this afternoon to call the doctor’s office again and follow up on this morning’s phone call. That choice knocked the wind out of me, but it was still the right one. I picked the one task that needed to be done today, that needed to be done by me, and I made sure that it happened.

But we are coming up on dinner, and I can’t manage an appetite or cooking. In a few hours, I’ll need to get The Flutenist from work, but I shouldn’t be driving right now.

I just called my brother and asked for help. 

I’m not sitting here alone this time, crying in the dark, not eating, and just pretending to be ok. I called for help because it’s important to me that I make it through this AND take care of myself at the same time.

With the last shreds of my energy, I reached out for help, and help is coming. It’s going to be ok.

Game Therapy: Dragon Age 2- Finale

This post’s featured image comes from Bioware’s official game site.

I wanted to do a final post for this series, to look back at what I have found through the process of looking at myself through my avatar’s eyes. It may or may not be of interest to you, but I need a bit of closure.

Overall, I’m not too disappointed in what I have found. There are some posts that were harder than others, usually the ones about being a kid who had to grow up fast or who pushed herself too hard. These ones hurt because my life didn’t play out in a way that gave me freedom or peace; I didn’t get to be ‘just a kid,’ in as much as kids can’t be carefree when they are tethered to mental illness (theirs and/or a family member’s).

What do I still feel when I think of those posts? Empathy. Compassion. I need to be kinder to myself, to create a space to rest and be satisfied with myself, even if I’m not always running myself ragged. Even if some days, I just stroll through the daisies and watch the bumblebees hover between them. Because that’s a part of life too. 

I am allowed to enjoy things without the world imploding.

I will have to start a new character in a different game after a little while, and see if she has a lighter back story. I hope she will. I hope she will be happier too.

So what now? It still feels unfinished somehow. I guess that maybe I’ll take the time to tell Abigail Hawke the things that she and I really need someone to say to us.

—-

So, Hawke. Champion of Kirkwall, huh? That sounds like a heavy burden, but it’s also a sign that you did something. For better or worse, your life mattered, and that’s more than most can say.

Ouch. I just realized how that sounds. Like Bethany and Carver didn’t matter at all. Like none of your friends from Lothering mattered. Like only the people who get thrown into the fire but manage to survive are worth remembering. I’m sorry- I guess I’m not very good at this.

What I was trying to say is that you changed Kirkwall, made it better for a lot of us. Now you have a title that tells the world what you’ve meant to us. But I guess that the title isn’t what you want either. Knowing you, you’d probably trade it in a heartbeat if you could get your family, your friends, or your lover back by your side. 

You lived with your heart, you know that? You poured yourself into people- learned their problems, stood by their side against their enemies, and protected them when they couldn’t protect themselves. It might not feel like it mattered right now, living in that big house all alone, but I’m sure that it mattered to them.

Do you remember the way they looked at you? How they laughed at your jokes and smiled when you came in the room? Do you remember how Bethany idolized you, how Carver measured himself by what you had accomplished? You meant the world to them.

Maybe you didn’t get to have all the time you wanted. Maybe you didn’t get the life you wanted. It’s sad, but that was never promised to any of us. I… I didn’t get those things myself. My life can feel very empty indeed without the faces and voices that really captured my heart. But life is what it is, and we endure.

Please keep living and loving, Abigail. I know you’re hurt and scared and angry because of him- you must be!- but there is still a path for you to walk. Let me walk with you. I promise we can stop as often as you need, that we can sit down for a while, turn around to see what we’ve missed, and jog ahead to make up old ground. Whatever you need.

Maker’s breath, but you’re brave! I just can’t help but be moved by all you’ve endured. You’re so strong, and not because you win fights, but because of how richly you’ve been able to live- how fiercely connected to the world and its people you have been. All of this would hurt less if you had lived it half asleep, like so many do, but you charged head long into the fray and it’s been impossible to stop you since.

You are an amazing, strong, beautiful woman. Nothing can diminish you. Nothing. 

Taking Care of Myself

Today is a big day, I guess. I am going to an orthodontist, as an adult, to see if I can get my teeth fixed. Why is this a big deal? I’m taking care of myself. 

The teeth in my lower jaw are too close. They are crushed together in the front, pushed out of line, and damaging my gums. I don’t like the way they look, it’s hard to take care of them, and I am nervous about what my mouth will look like in 30 years.

This has been true for a few years. But this year is important because I am found something about it.

The last time I asked about orthodontics for adults, I was told to give up. This time, I did research for myself and found out that it’s possible. And available nearby. And I have an appointment today.

So we’ll see how much effort I have to put into taking care of myself. And I’ll do it. And maybe, just maybe, as I take care of myself, the feelings will ripple back over each other and I will feel like I am WORTH taking care of. One can only hope- and be open to those feelings if they show up.